Hokey smokes, hope you've been saving your nickels because we've got 5, count 'em 5, brand new books slated to hit comic shops this week! Read on for more info and to see what the other new-comics-day bloggers are saying [now edited to add Tom Spurgeon].
232-page monochrome 6.75" x 8.25" hardcover • $22.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-344-6
"I absolutely loved this Megan Kelso graphic novel — a kind of anthropological/fictional-historical fantasy/love story thing involving a fractured culture of people with artichoke leaves for hair — and I'm not afraid to say so." – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
"Getting back to much-awaited new projects, here’s Megan Kelso’s 232-page intergenerational fantasy, excerpted/anticipated here and there, depicting struggle and serenity among the fleshily vulnerable artichoke folk. ...Kelso’s visual style remains appealing as ever." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
"Megan Kelso (The Squirrel Mother) returns with her most ambitious work to date..." – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama
"Fantagraphics reminds us that they’re more than just awesome, Matt Thorn-curated manga with Megan Kelso’s Artichoke Tales. ... This is Kelso’s first long-form effort, and I’m looking forward to seeing what she does with that length of narrative." – David Welsh, The Manga Curmudgeon
"I'm still digesting this, the oddest book I've read all year." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
104-page black & white 6.5" x 9" hardcover • $19.99 ISBN: 978-1-56097-917-3
"Tony Millionaire’s sequel to his excellent 2006 Billy Hazelnuts, a gorgeous evocation of sprawling, daydreamy adventure strip narratives pairing gritty-but-whimsical hardcases with not-too-sweet innocents. Here we find grumpy homunculus Billy adjusting poorly to helping out with animals on the farm, only to set off on a mission to reunite a baby owl with its mother. It looks really funny and beautiful." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
"Maakies cartoonist Tony Millionaire's 'all-ages' sequel to Billy Hazelnuts, and by 'all-ages' he apparently means that it's the kind of grotesque slapstick farce that could potentially entertain small children while creeping the living heck out of their parents..." – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
"What's MY PICK OF THE WEEK? The Billy Hazelnuts and the Crazy Bird hardcover by the one and only Tony Millionaire. ... In the Billy Hazelnuts all-ages series, Millionaire spins the yarn of Billy, a garbage-homunculus, and the family who loves him. In this installment, the bizarre Billy must return a baby owl to the woods. Rampant weirdness ensues." – Cyriaque Lamar, io9
"Prolific Maakies cartoonist and Sock Monkey creator Tony Millionaire’s long-awaited second Billy Hazelnuts graphic novel finally arrives." – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama
"The release of a new Tony Millionaire stand-alone book is an overall world good." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
128-page black & white 8.25" x 10.75" hardcover • $19.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-352-1
"Finally(!), here’s a new 128-page hardcover edition of Fantagraphics’ 1995 compilation of assorted Robert Crumb shorts starring the famous lil’ bearded guy." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
"Fantagraphics is having a pretty damn huge week (and there’s a couple more swell-looking books below)." [Yep!] – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama
"This is one of the better Christmas-gift books Fantagraphics ever made... A kind of Crumb-primer, or Crumb for people who might want to get at him from a more standard comics stories standpoint." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
240-page black & white/duotone 7" x 10.25" softcover • $22.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-346-0
"...includes the best of comics creator, character and all-around renaissance woman Dame Darcy’s first decade of Meat Cake comics..." – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama
"No, stay in your chair, this close-to-last-of-the-classic-one-artist-anthology-comic-books isn’t going bookshelf for good – it’s an expanded 240-page softcover reissue of Fantagraphics’ 2003 (200-page) hardcover collection of the best of Dame Darcy’s comical fictions and stitched-up Victoriana, with guest writer Alan Moore popping in for a later story..." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
"This collection of Dame Darcy's twisted fairy tale saga was out-of-print and gets a much deserved resurrection, replete with her collaboration with Alan Moore." – Cyriaque Lamar, io9
"Dame Darcy is the canary in the cage as alt-comics makes its way through the catacombs of modern comics publishing. As long as she has a publishing presence, something must going at least semi-okay." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
240-page two-color 8" x 10" hardcover • $22.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-323-1
"I read it a few weeks ago, and it’s easily one of the best comics works I’ve experienced so far this year. It’s an extremely ambitious story set in a fantasy world that explores the various ways in which war and fear can tear people apart while knitting communities together. It’s occasionally touching, occasionally scary, always thrilling and remarkably complex. I hope to review it in this space sometime soon, but I’d like to give it another read or two before I attempt doing so. In the mean time, allow me to at least wholeheartedly recommend it." – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama
"...Percy Gloom was perfectly dedicated to its metaphors of human caution as aggravated by society and religion. This new 240-page work promises a similarly-conceived world, this time as built by an amnesiac war veteran forever alert to obscure but surely dire threats. Surely!" – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
"Russ Manning Award winner Cathy Malkasian's new graphic novel is a sprawling, splendidly grotesque-looking fable about the kinds of lies that preserve patriarchy and perpetuate war, set in and around a city called Blessedbowl whose inhabitants believe that they're afloat on a sea of fire and at war with evil forces from outside, neither of which are true. It's worth a look for sure." – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
"I'm looking forward to this one because a) I know absolutely nothing about it, and b) I went into the cartoonist's previous book Percy Gloom with every expectation I'd hate it until my legs fell off from the acidic bile collected in them from my hating of it, but ended up super-charmed by like page eight." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
Still not convinced? Check out our previews and excerpts for each book at their respective links above and judge for yourself. As always, we recommend confirming availability with your local shop before toddling on down.
I'm back from taking a couple of days off and catching up on things that I missed during that time, including the arrival of new comics in stores last Thursday (a day late due to the U.S. holiday), including:
32-page full-color 6.75" x 9.5" comic book • $4.95 ISBN: 978-1-60699-422-1
"The best alternative comic book series right now? It's certainly some of the funniest comics going, even if I have little to say other than apparently spout broad, positive clichés on its behalf," said Tom Spurgeon at The Comics Reporter last week.
Hopefully your local shop hasn't sold out already — maybe give them a jingle and have them put one on hold for you if you didn't already pick it up last week.
Three new compact softcovers wending their way into comic shops this week. Plentiful previews, bonus downloads, and more information about each book await you at the links below. Your local comic shop can divulge availability at their particular establishment if contacted in advance. Read on to see descriptions and comments from the comics bloggers:
"Definitive title notwithstanding, this 360-page Ben Schwartz-edited volume actually concerns itself with writing pertinent to (though not exclusively concerned with) the maturation and rise in public consciousness of North American ‘literary’ comics..." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
"Disclaimer: I've got an essay in this Ben Schwartz-edited anthology, which features criticism as well as interviews and historical pieces." – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon refers you to his interview with Ben Schwartz, which he prefaced by saying "It's the kind of volume that starts fights... — but that's okay and it's part of the fun. There's a lot of good work in the book and one or two absolutely inspired choices. Anyone with an interest in comics should at least give it a flip-through, and anyone with an interest in writing about the medium should use it as a springboard to discover a host of excellent new favorites."
"...[N]othing but transcriptions of Twitter feeds, message boards and comics blogs, mostly dealing with Stephanie Brown and how messed up Identity Crisis was. Oh wait a minute, I’m thinking of The Worst American Comics Criticism, the volume of comics writing I’m editing, in my mind." – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama
136-page black & white 6" x 8.25" softcover • $12.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-347-7
"...[T]he 136-page latest from the always-fun Joe Daly..., a hugely vulgar quest adventure imposing video game RPG tropes on the aggressive banality of suburban navigation..." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
"Joe Daly's latest, an Angouleme Festival essential book this year in its French-language iteration, is so deeply weird it makes his oddball Hergé pastiche in his last work look like actual, straight-forward Hergé." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"I’m not doing a very good job of describing it, I know, but that’s only because it’s so damn weird. Hopefully I’ll do a better job when I sit down to write a formal review. In the mean time, give it a flip-through tomorrow! It has a character named Lash Penis in it!" – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama
162-page black & white 6" x 8.75" softcover (with full-color foldout) • $16.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-324-8
"Nice – a spankin’ new Fantagraphics collection of one of the major ’stray’ Kim Deitch works, a 1997-98 serial from the pages of the publisher’s old funnybook anthology series Zero Zero. Join your humble artist/narrator and Waldo the cat as they explore the demon-visited world of children’s programming..." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
"A major collection from an A-List comics talent. This time out the great Kim Deitch examines the nature of entertainment through the ways audiences encounter, process and recall it. The joyful image-making couldn't be more entertaining to drink in." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
It couldn't be a finer time to be a Fantagraphics fan as we have three major book releases scheduled to land in comic shops this week (with scuttlebutt that some shops may have received them last week). Read on for blogospheric descriptions and reaction:
104-page black & white 7" x 9.75" hardcover • $19.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-340-8
"Anecdotal as this is, I’ve heard absolutely nothing but good things about this new Jim Woodring project, a 104-page return to his signature Frank character, although the story itself focuses on damned, slovenly humanoid swine thingy Manhog as he taps into strange cosmic powers. As it was before, expect Woodring’s excellent command of physical comedy (and his story pacing, which always seems to denote improvisation but never dawdles or rambles) to segue from the pliable bodies of cartoon figures into something mythic and transformative about mysteries lurking just behind the atmosphere." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
"The all-new Weathercraft is my book of the week and would be my book for most weeks, frankly." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
64-page full-color 10" x 12.5" hardcover • $18.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-355-2
"...Tim Hensley... mix[es] and sampl[es] elements in a self-evident way for a gleeful result, though this artist takes it so far that individual character poses seem exclusively isolated from long-forgotten humor comics and pressed into the service of a patchwork ideal of a ‘teenage’ comic (teenage-as-a-genre), possibly going down as the most striking of the original MOME serials once the goats are culled from the sheep. Here’s the collected edition, a 10″ x 12.5″ hardcover album, 64 color pages, almost all of them pretty to very funny. Yet it’s oddly difficult to describe Wally Gropius in more specific terms, but know that it’s about a rich boy and a determined girl and their courtship, and how prolix borrowed comic devices can build into something distressing indeed." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
"Tim Hensley’s sly satire of silly ‘60s kids comics is an amazingly accomplished, spot-on imitation of the look and feel of those books, but with a sharper edged and heavier weight. One-part Archie Andrews, two-parts Richie Rich, Wally Gropius isn’t the German architect (although he’s often confused for him), but is rather a teen rock star bazillionaire." – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama
114-page 10.5" x 14.75" full-color hardcover • $39.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-161-9
"...an anticipated-by-many contemporary reprint project collecting Roy Crane’s influential Sunday spin-off from the comedic daily strip titled Wash Tubbs back when it started in 1924, but had since itself become an adventure-toned showcase for the Captain Easy character. Edited by Rick Norwood, with a vintage (1974) foreword by Charles Schulz and a new introduction by Jeet Heer..." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics
"The best adventure comic everywhere; Crane's clean, thought-out action scenes are a tonic for all those confused superhero fight scenes out there today." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
As always, complete details and extensive previews of each book can be found at their respective links. Bug your local comic shop to make sure they have them in stock before smashing open your piggy bank.
160-page black & white/color 9" x 12" softcover • $24.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-316-3
Comics Comics' Joe McCulloch describes it thusly: "This is a new Fantagraphics softcover collecting the earliest Krazy Kat Sunday pages, thus looping this most venerable Golden Age of Reprints project around to material Eclipse covered one year at a time back in the late ’80s (the Fanta effort began with 1925, where Eclipse left off). I think this one should include three of the ’80s volumes, thus topping out at 160 pages, with the original supplements preserved, but also updated annotations and a new Chris Ware design." Douglas Wolk at Comics Alliance: "In which Fantagraphics' splendid Krazy Kat Sunday strip reprint program loops back around to the beginning of the series' run, previously reprinted by Eclipse/Turtle Island about twenty years ago. This edition also features a brief portfolio of some of the appearances of a little black cat in George Herriman's pre-Krazy comic strips, and a few other curiosities from the early days of the strip." Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter: "Still the greatest comic. The design on this is like it's the ninja issue of the series." Cyriaque Lamar of io9 takes note: "the classic cat-and-mouse series gets the paperback treatment."
Our customary PDF excerpt and video/photo slideshow is available at the link above. Your local shop can confirm availability.
168-page black & white 7.5" x 9" softcover • $18.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-341-5
Pick your favorite of the two alternate covers in person! At Comics Comics, Joe McCulloch calls it a "fascinating 2008 story study of the great American mythological drama." The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon praises this new edition of "the debut book from the muscular cartoonist Tim Lane."
208-page black & white 8" x 10" softcover • $19.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-366-8
At Comics Alliance Douglas Wolk notes of the original series "it managed to get shut down after four issues, basically because its philosophical stance was 'war is horrible and futile, and by the way American soldiers are slaughtering innocent civilians in Vietnam.'" The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon calls it "an absolute must-have reprint of Archie Goodwin's Warren-era war comics. No one with even a tiny bit of interest in war comics could fail to like that Blazing Combat book."
112-page 7.25" x 9.5" full-color softcover • $14.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-322-4
It's "scooping up another 112 color pages of Kelly’s franchise work," says Joe McCulloch at Comics Comics. The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon mentions the new volume, maybe not in the most flattering way, but we appreciate it anyway.
Much more information, including sneak peeks in the form of PDF downloads and video/photo slideshows, is available at the links above, as always. Smart shoppers know it's always good to check with your local shop in advance to confirm availability.
160-page full-color 9" x 6.75" hardcover • $22.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-308-8
Joe McCulloch at Comics Comics describes it aptly: "An interesting experiment in Golden Age of Reprints presentational engineering, this new 160-page landscape-format Fantagraphics hardcover collects all of the great Basil Wolverton’s crackpot daily advice strips as seen in the pages of Fawcett’s Whiz Comics, 1945-52, presented in comparison with Wolverton’s original pencil roughs for what looks like every installment." The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon brings the basketball metaphor: "Who doesn't want to read as much Basil Wolverton as they can? He's not in the starting all-time five, but he gets a lot of playing time off the bench." At Comics Alliance Douglas Wolk declaims "Goofiness, history and process!"
128-page color/b&w 7" x 9" softcover • $14.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-303-3
Joe McCulloch at Comics Comics opines "The centerpiece of this Spring 2010 edition of the Fantagraphics house anthology is, without question, the return of Dave Cooper to comics" and of the other contributors says "That really is a nice lineup"; Tom Spurgeon of The Comics Reporter agrees that it "offers a super-strong line-up of creators." We can't disagree — you can see the full table of contents and samples from each contributor as part of our PDF excerpt.
So head on down to your local comic shop, but not before checking out the bountiful information and sneak peeks at the links above, and it's always a good idea to confirm availability beforehand.
32-page color/b&w 6.75" x 10.25" comic book • $4.95 ISBN: 978-1-60699-373-6
Newsarama's J. Caleb Mozzocco says it's "Thirty-two pages of Peter Bagge for $5" — fair enough. At Comics Comics Joe McCulloch counts Peter among the "cartoonists I like to see making comic books" and lauds the presentation of "a genuine 32-page Fantagraphics comic book." Obviously the blogoscentia think the comic fairly speaks for itself. We think you'll like the glossy cardstock cover, the 20 pages of Buddy & Lisa in luscious full color, the scientist bio strips, the "behind the scenes" take on Reefer Madness and the proverbial "much more." All to be found on the racks of your local comic book shop! Annoy them with your "Bagge & board" jokes! C'mon, it's fun!
144-page black & white 6.5" x 9.75" softcover • $16.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-318-7
At Comics Alliance, Douglas Wolk calls it "The most riveting, chilling graphic novel I've read so far this year" and "a great, shockingly dark piece of work." At Comics Comics, Joe McCulloch describes this correctly as "the newest of Fantagraphics ‘classic’ line of tall(-ish), thin(ner) softcovers, an all-Beto book collecting short stories featuring the character Fritz." The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon calls this and Penny Century below "Some of the best comics in the world..."
240-page black & white 7.5" x 9.25" softcover • $18.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-342-2
This is "another 240-page entry in the short(er), fat(ter) line of catch-up-quick softcovers which you can promise yourself to, body and soul, in the hopes of an eventually comprehensive reading experience," says Comics Comics' Joe McCulloch, who also declares "my heart belongs to the 1996 miniseries Whoa, Nellie!, a leaner-than-usual action piece adoringly dotted with monolithic images of lady wrestlers in action – it’s like a superhero comic of the period, only just perfectly different enough." Douglas Wolk at Comics Alliance says "It's all great — I'm not sure Jaime could draw a bad comic if he tried..."
120-page black & white 7.75" x 10.5" hardcover • $24.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-353-8
At The Comics Reporter Tom Spurgeon declares "I'd say this is the release of the week: one of the great works from one of the great, important cartoonists." Comics Comics' Joe McCulloch says of Tardi "few artists possess dual OG certification with RAW and Heavy Metal" and calls the book "a human patchwork of WWI service, perhaps the artist’s keystone work." At Comics Alliance, Douglas Wolk describes it as "Tardi's ferocious graphic novel about the horrors of war in general and World War I in particular..."
104-page b&w/color 7.5" x 10.25" softcover • $18.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-284-5
Joe McCulloch sums it up at Comics Comics: "You may have missed this too, when Fantagraphics released it as a hardcover in 2004 – now these 104 pages of vintage Humorama digest illustrations won’t run you $78.99 new, if you believe Amazon sellers." Tom Spurgeon recalls that the original hardcover edition of this "was a really nice book" in his Comics Reporter recommendation.
Previews and information a-plenty can be had at the links above so you can gather knowledge before you gather your wallet and head out to your local shop.
344-page black & white 8.5" x 7" hardcover • $28.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-345-3
Checking in with the comics bloggers' new-release roundups, Comics Comics' Joe McCulloch notes "The intro here is by Robert Smigel, which will probably be good." At Comics Alliance Douglas Wolk says "Words cannot tell you how much I love this era of Charles M. Schulz's masterwork. So forget it." (Nicely done, Douglas.) Comic Book Galaxy 's Alan David Doane says "New Complete Peanuts is... always great news."
Don't forget to check out our previews! Just click the cover above for all the info. We imagine most comic shops will have ordered copies to have in stock, but maybe give your local shop a shout first.